Writing during the holidays
Guess what? The holidays are a tricky time to keep writing. There are parties, families, family parties, work deadlines, crowds, presents. Snow. Holiday euphoria or holiday depression. School vacation days. And blog post deadlines (which I missed. Which is why this is a day late and in the wrong font and missing two Miss Demeanors.) So I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors how they kept their writing schedule going during the holidays. Did they put themselves on hiatus or did they keep going? This is what they said:
Michele: One of the unfortunate things about practicing family law is dealing with how conflict within families escalates during the holidays. Who gets the kids for Christmas? How can I buy gifts if I’m not being paid support? It goes on and on, and frankly has dampened my holiday spirits over the years. One of the ways I have coped with this is to continue to write and crawl into the fictional world I control and that insulates me from the reality of human misery. Sleep? I’ve been an insomniac since I was a child. Fortunately, some of my best ideas come in the middle of the night. And that’s my Bah Humbug, I fear. Paula: I don’t know how you do it. I need at least eight hours of sleep a night or I am a walking nightmare. Alison: Count me with those who need sleep! My years of burning the candle at both ends are behind me. I have a deadline of December 21st for Abish Taylor #2 revisions, so I’m in the cave of re-writing. My life is pared down to the bare minimum of what absolutely must be done beyond writing. Under normal circumstances, I write Monday through Friday. Every day until I reach my word count. I have my weekly word count goal, so occasionally I will write on the weekends if I need to make up for a day. I do find, though, that my process differs depending on where I am in the process. I’ve experimented with a lot of different routines to find what lets me be my most productive. I’ll keep trying different things, I’m sure, because what works now may not work next year. Currently, having at least a day away from writing renews me. I once tried to work on one story during the week and a different one on the weekends, but I found that when I did that I lost the help of my subconscious brain, that part of my thinking that worked out plot problems and then suggested solutions while I was on a run, or in the shower, or falling asleep. You know, those flashes of insight that dance out of sight when you search for them, but magically appear when you don’t? Cate: I write every day still and I get less sleep. Less sleep is, more or less, my solution for everything.
Robin: I’m sort of in Cate’s camp. I stay up later. But I try not to lose sleep – I’m a big baby if I don’t get enough rest. My lifestyle is such that I’m able to compensate most of the time by sleeping in a little later when I stay up later. I used to have to live and die by my meeting calendar, largely dictated by others, and, as a result, I got sick a lot during the holidays. Now that I don’t *have* to live that way, I try to take better care of myself. “Try,” because sometimes my internal clock doesn’t care if I planned on waking up later.
Paula:I work all the time. Finding time to write in between my swell day job as an agent and traveling and family is the hard part. I just got back my notes from my editor for Book 2 so I have some work to do that must happen over the holidays. I have no idea how I’ll do it. Probably on planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.
Looks like we’re a pretty hard-working bunch.
How about you, friends. What do you do?